Lockheed Martin has delivered its first Greenville, South Carolina-built F-16 to the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF), with the Block 70-standard fighter set to undergo further testing in the USA.
Marked during a 10 March ceremony at the new production facility, the milestone edges the RBAF closer to adding to its current inventory of 21 legacy C/D-model F-16s. The in-service assets are aged between 20 and 33 years, Cirium fleets data shows.
First flown on 24 January, the two-seat aircraft – which carries the service registration 1611 – is the first of 16 on order for Manama.
“From here, it will begin additional flight tests at Edwards Air Force Base [in California], before arriving in Bahrain in 2024,” Lockheed says.
“With the Block 70 iteration, we are transforming fourth-generation [into] the next generation for the Royal Bahraini Air Force and other partners and allies around the world,” says Lockheed’s Integrated Fighter Group vice-president OJ Sanchez.
Other current customers for the Greenville-produced F-16 Block 70/72 are Bulgaria, Morocco, Slovakia and Taiwan, with Jordan also seeking to acquire the type.